Steps of Love is a US-based nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers. Recognizing the need for local presence in the communities we benefit, Steps of Love partners with AIM Peñasco (short for Asistencia Integral para Menores de Puerto Peñasco), a Mexican civil association run by local community members.

Steps of Love was incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Arizona in November 2012. The Board of Directors signed and accepted the bylaws of the organization on March 22, 2013. On July 24th, 2013 the IRS approved our application to become a 501(c)(3) public charity under tax ID 46-1557787.
AIM Peñasco, the Mexican Civil Association, was founded in February 2016 by board member Kathleen Duncan. A local board of directors (junta directiva) was formed out of Mexican community leaders. In July 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Steps of Love and AIM Peñasco as a way to formalize the partnership and to unify the mission of both organizations.

OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM

Kathleen Duncan; AIM Peñasco / Steps of Love Liaison

Kathleen attended University of Arizona while she worked at the ‘Casa de los Ninos’ Crisis Nursery for abused and neglected children and also met her husband Arnott who is a 4th generation Arizona farmer.  After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Kathleen followed Arnott to Goodyear, AZ where she attended graduate school at Arizona State University while also working as a Family Support Services Coordinator for the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities.

In 1986, Kathleen married Arnott, received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, and accepted a position with the Division of Developmental Disabilities coordinating Early Intervention Services for young children with special needs. Kathleen and Arnott have two sons, Kell and Sean who were born in 1988 and 1990. In 1992, she left her position with DDD to establish educational and outreach programs on her family’s farm.  Through a 25 year partnership between Duncan Family Farms and the Association of Arizona Food Banks, they have shown their commitment to helping to feed hungry families in Arizona and they donate well over one million pounds of produce to Arizona food banks each year. The Duncans and their employees also volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall and host an Annual St. Vincent de Paul Walk for the Poor. In the summer of 2012, Kathleen decided she wanted to find a way to give back to the community of Rocky Point, Mexico where her family have been vacationing for 25 years. In September of 2012, she discovered the newly opened Amores de Peñasco Children’s Crisis Shelter and has been traveling from her home in Buckeye, AZ to spend 2-3 days per week volunteering in that shelter. In 2016 she founded AIM Peñasco as a way to extend her support beyond the orphanage and to the community in general.

Karina (Lungo) Jones

Karina was born in El Salvador, Central America. She holds a Masters degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Murcia, Spain. Karina has vast international experience: after obtaining her undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and International Business at Harding University, Arkansas, she joined Procter and Gamble where she worked for 14 years as Service Leader and Project Manager. With Procter & Gamble, she traveled to almost every country in Latin America, an experience that allowed her to appreciate the cultural diversity of the American continents and to relate to the needs of the Hispanic population.

In 2012, Karina started a new adventure by exploring the social sector while obtaining her degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. These studies equipped her with the knowledge needed to organize and formalize Steps of Love as a nonprofit organization. In 2012 she incorporated Steps of Love as a nonprofit organization in the State of Arizona and in 2013 her application for a 501(c)(3) was granted. Karina works full-time for Arizona State University and serves Steps of Love on a volunteer basis. Karina and her family live in Gilbert, Arizona.

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jeff Skoglind; President and Board of Directors, Chairman

Jeff was born and raised in WI (Oshkosh) and attended the University of Wisconsin earning a BS with majors in Psychology and Political Science. He later added coursework from Wharton Business School’s program in Executive Education.He began his 40-year career in retailing in 1974 with the largest department store chain in the US. Thirty five of his professional years were in Human Resources including:- Sr. VP for American Eagle Outfitters, and- EVP for Victoria’s Secret.Both experiences were times of rapid growth with the sales quadrupling (AE) and increasing ten-fold (VS).

Attracting and developing the talent within organizations is what challenges and rewards Jeff professionally. With his wife of 32 years (Patt), they moved two households (Manhattan and Pittsburgh, PA) to Scottsdale in 2007. One daughter (attorney) resides with her husband in Boston and the younger (Speech & Language Pathologist) is closer to home in Phoenix. Patt is a business professor at NAU. Jeff is immensely proud of his family & their accomplishments. He often jokes about being the least educated of the clan. Jeff has devoted time to organizations that touch his heart or passions throughout his life, including: Habitat for Humanity (volunteer), National Assault Prevention Center (Board), Columbus (OH) Ballet Met (Board), Ohio State University-Fisher School of Business (Advisory Board), Pittsburgh Glass Institute (Board), Foothills Food Bank (volunteer & Board). He retired in June 2014 and is now able to devote more of his time to charitable organizations.

Cyndi Connelly; Treasurer

Cyndi grew up in Iowa and graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in Accounting. She worked for many years as a CPA, holding staff and management positions in audit, accounting, and finance with Deloitte, Trans World Airlines, and American Airlines. Cyndi has traveled extensively and has a passion for learning about different cultures and people. She has a heart for serving those in need and inspiring others to do the same. She volunteers extensively with her church and recently completed a three year term as Mission Elder. During that time she organized and led numerous local and international outreach activities, including biannual mission trips to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), MX.

Cyndi is married to Gordon and they have two sons who attend Georgia Tech and Stanford. Cyndi and Gordon live in Scottsdale, AZ, and also have a condo in Rocky Point. Cyndi is committed to giving back to the Puerto Peñasco community which she considers to be her second home.

David Baker; Secretary

David Baker, a native of Virginia, currently resides in Gilbert, AZ with his wife (a registered nurse) of 40 years. They have two daughters, one a nurse and the other a pharmaceutical representative. Both daughters are married and reside in Chicago, IL. They are further blessed with two granddaughters. David received his undergraduate degree from Lincoln Memorial University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. David spent 41 years in the healthcare field before retiring in April of 2014. Most recently, he was the CEO of Home Care/Hospice of Banner Health System.

Prior to that, David served as the Regional Executive Director at St. John Home Care and Genesys Home Care in Detroit, Mich. and as the Manager of Consulting for Ernst & Young in Chicago, IL. Since retiring, he has been focused on finding opportunities to give back by helping others who are in need. In addition to his role with Steps of Love, David volunteers as a business development leader for a community clinic serving migrants and uninsured in Chandler, AZ and is working as a mentor for entrepreneurs developing start-up health care non-profit businesses in South Carolina and Texas.

Anthony Smith; Member at Large

Anthony Smith grew up in Indiana where he graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree. Anthony spent much of his professional career working in the electric utility and the telecommunications industry.Smith obtained certification from the Project Management Association as a Project Management Professional (PMP) in 1995. In 1997, Anthony Smith moved his family from Illinois to Arizona to work for Motorola.Anthony Smith won election to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors in November 2012.

Prior to his election as Supervisor, Anthony Smith served as one of the original members of Maricopa’s Planning and Zoning Commission and two terms as the Mayor of the City of Maricopa. Supervisor Smith currently represents Pinal County District #4. After moving to Maricopa in 2003, Anthony Smith was instrumental in helping to create or establish five non-profits. Anthony has a heart for the value non-profits bring to communities and continues to promote their causes. Supervisor Smith currently resides with his wife Nancy in the City of Maricopa.

Brittannia Blanchard; Member at Large

Britty was born in Panama and received a Bachelor of Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to moving to Arizona, she lived in Illinois, North Carolina, and Florida. While she lived in Florida, Britty spent some time as a Guardian Ad Litem, as a volunteer advocate for abused children and also spent time volunteering to feed the homeless. She is a mother and she believes in the importance of love, education, and stability in a child’s life.

She has worked in the medical field most of her professional life and for the last 10 years has been the manager of a multi-specialty doctors’ practice located in Arizona. Britty believes in paying forward the good that comes into one’s life. She and her staff have been fundraising for women and children causes since 2003.

Niki Ramirez; Member at Large

Niki Ramirez, a Minnesota transplant, came to Arizona in 1995 to attend Arizona State University where she studied Spanish literature and business. Niki went on to obtain a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management from the University of Phoenix, and she holds dual human resource professional certifications. Niki is the founder and principal consultant at HR Answers LLC, a human resources consulting firm focusing on helping clients achieve success through designing and implementing effective HR programs.

Before founding her firm, Niki worked for many years as a program coordinator and director in community education and social service programs that serve children in the Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler areas. She has served as a community trainer as well, providing resources to childcare and early education providers to bolster their success in the field.Niki’s commitment to serving children and families has been present throughout her life by way of volunteering for a number of community organizations and non-profits, including Junior Achievement of Arizona and Three Precious Miracles. Niki is a proud mom and wife. She has been married to her husband, Luis Ramirez, since 2000 and together they have 3 beautiful kids. The Ramirez family loves to get out and hike together; spending time exploring the outdoors is a favorite pastime.